Portsmouth have confirmed that three of their academy members have been released after racist messages from a group chat involving the trio were spread on social media.
The above messages are believed to have included images aimed at England’s trio Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, with the discriminatory images circulating shortly after England’s final defeat to Euro 2020.
? Portsmouth FC can confirm that three players have been released from the academy following the completion of a disciplinary process #Pompey
– Portsmouth FC (@Pompey) 28 July 2021
Portsmouth immediately announced that they would launch an investigation into an attempt to find the source of the messages, and two weeks after the announcement, the club has now taken to its official website to confirm that three under 18 players have been released.
“Portsmouth Football Club can confirm that the investigation – and the subsequent disciplinary process – into discriminatory messages originating from a private group chat among 18-year-olds in the academy has now been completed,” the statement said.
“We can confirm that a decision has been made today [July 28] to release three players from the academy. These players have the right to appeal against the club’s decision. Portsmouth Football Club is fully committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination.
“We are part of a diverse society and are dedicated to promoting an environment of equality and inclusion at all times – both within the football club and in our wider society.
“We also continue to respectfully appeal to everyone’s considerations in their use of social media posts addressed to any of the club’s employees and other external parties.”
Portsmouth have released three academy players / Phil Cole / Getty Images
So far, there has been no word on which three players were involved in the incident, but it is hoped that the League One club’s decision to act quickly and decisively will help send the message to others that discrimination at all levels of the game will not be tolerated.
Portsmouth will now look to put the event behind them as they prepare to launch their League One campaign 2021/22 against Fleetwood on 7 August.